Our wedding was in my hometown Antalya. My husband and I live in the states, His whole family, family friends and most of his friends also live in the states. My side lives in Turkey and some of my friends lives in Europe. Our wedding was 200 people, 70 of them came from all around the world.
We got married in city hall and didn’t hide this from any one. In Antalya we had a Turkish ceremony. Turkey is a secular country so the wedding ceremony is not religious. My husband and I walked down the aisle together.
Planning was not stressful at all. I actually really enjoyed every step of it. I didn’t work with a wedding planner.
I mostly worked with the vendors that our venue recommended. The owner of the organization company was like a day of planner. She was with us the whole day, Instagram really helped me to get an idea of how they work. We mostly communicated through whazapp.
We sent the invitations 7 months before the wedding. Pretty much all of my husband’s older relatives couldn’t come since it was at least 10 hour flight. But one of his grandmothers made it. It was a bless to have her there.
Our venue was in the hotel so all our guests stayed there. We got a special pricing for our guests. Hotel also had airport service. Most guests arrived 3 days before the wedding.
As wedding favors, we gave a welcome bag to our guests who traveled for our wedding. These bags were put in our guests room by the hotel staff before the guests arrive. The bags were hand made by mother’s friend. We put a Turkish style beach towel, Turkish delight, Rose water and rose cream, fresh nut mix, and home made fig jam in them. There was a welcome note with some schedule info in the bag.
We went to Antalya 10 days before the wedding to run some errands and spend time with the family. Plus I got my wedding gown altered in Antalya which took only 2 days. And my husband bought his tux from Antalya.
We hosted a boat tour on Mediterranean two days before our wedding day. We didn’t invite all of our guests to this event. Only my family, cousins, uncle aunts, guests coming from abroad and close friends were invited. We were less than 100 people on the boat. Since all my family lives there we did potluck on the boat. This helped our guests spend time together and know each other. Plus we spend the whole day on the boat, drinking eating and swimming.
Most of our guests combined our wedding with their vacation. After our wedding, some of them stayed in Antalya, took a road trip and enjoyed the Mediterranean, some of them went to Europe.
Recently I have been reading some people complaining about the money that they spend and the vacation time that they have to take for destination weddings. Luckily non of our guests thought that way. They were all excited to spend time with us and celebrate our marriage. No one is forced to come to the wedding. If this is too much for them we absolutely understand it.
Good luck with planning!